GCoM Cities and Partners in Asia: Sharing Experiences at InfoPoint Conference of European Commission

7 November 2022 | UCLG ASPAC, as the Secretariat of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM) Southeast Asia, brought together key speakers from three Southeast Asian countries to share experiences at the InfoPoint Conference, “Strengthening Asian Cities’ Capacity for Robust Climate Action Planning.” They were Mayor Edi Rusdi Kamtono (Pontianak, Indonesia), Mr. Safwan Shari (Iskandar Puteri, Malaysia), and Mr. Nguyen Sy Linh (ISPONRE, Vietnam) as the beneficiaries of the GCoM Asia Project.

The activity was conducted under the framework of GCoM Asia Project (2021-2023), funded by the European Union (EU), to provide support to eight countries in Asia in mobilising resources to plan and implement sustainable energy and climate action at the local levels. Through the event, the progress of the project implementation was conveyed.

Mr. Michel Mouchiroud of the EU Foreign Policy Instrument (FPI) started sharing with information about GCoM and how it correlates with the EU priorities, particularly in Asia. He highlighted four points of the GCoM Asia Project activities: (1) development of a climate action plan, (2) capacity building, (3) vertical integration between national and local government, and (4) validation through the badge system.

Ms. Asih Budiati, the GCoM Asia Project Team Leader, elaborated on how the project has benefitted cities and local governments across Asia. For instance, through capacity-building activities, the project has provided training on climate change mitigation and adaptation to more than 500 city officials. Through its knowledge-sharing events, the GCoM Asia Project has also reached out to more than 2,500 participants considering gender-balanced participation.

Speaking on behalf of Indonesia was Mayor Edi Rusdi Kamtono of Pontianak. He shared the experience of Pontianak City in developing Climate Action Plan (CAP) and the future arrangement to mainstream it into local development plans. “Being more environmentally friendly has become one of the visions of Pontianak. Therefore, CAP has been and will continually be mainstreamed into the Development Plan of Pontianak,” he remarked.

From Malaysia, Mr. Safwan Shari of the Iskandar Puteri City Council shared that the city has received a series of training on Greenhouse Gas Inventory (GHGI) and Climate Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (CRVA) provided by the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) as the GCoM Asia Project’s technical partner. He also emphasised how the training has been very beneficial for the officials and the city in general.

Viet Nam was represented by Mr. Nguyen Sy Linh as the Head of the Climate Change Division at the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment (ISPONRE). Under the GCoM Asia Project, ISPONRE is one of the technical partners that assist pilot cities in developing CAP, apart from CDP. Linh shared challenges faced by Vietnamese cities in developing CAP, including enabling environment, the capacity of officials, and budgeting.

The sharing session was also enriched with insights from two other speakers from East Asia and South Asia: Mayor Toma Yamazoe (Mayor of Yosano, Japan) and Mr. Ravi Guru (Deputy Director General, All India Institute of Local Self Government or AIILSG).

Since the programme’s kick-off in 2022, the project has reached out and benefited a wide range of stakeholders, particularly local governments, be it pilot and non-pilot cities, and positively contributes to the achievements of national governments. The event once again emphasised the importance of the active involvement of local partners to help local governments in climate reporting.